Biomechanical modelling of impact-related fracture characteristics and injury patterns of the cervical spine associated with riding accidents

S. Y. Jauch, S. Wallstabe, K. Sellenschloh, D. Rundt, K. Püschel, M. M. Morlock, N. M. Meenen, G. Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Horse-related injuries are manifold and can involve the upper and lower limbs, the trunk, spine or head. Cervical spine injuries are not among the most common injuries. However, they can be fatal and often result in neurological symptoms. This study investigated the influence of the posture of the cervical spine on the ultimate strength and the pattern of vertebrae failure with the aim to provide some guidance for protective clothing design. Methods: Eighteen human cervical spines, each divided into two specimens (three vertebrae each), were subjected to a simulator test designed to mimic a spinal trauma in different postures of the specimen (neutral, flexion, extension). The stress-to-failure, the deformation at the time of fracture and the fracture patterns assessed based on CT scans were analysed. Findings: Stress-to-failure of the superior specimens was lower for the flexion group compared to the others (P = 0.027). The superior specimens demonstrated higher stress-to-failure in comparison to the inferior specimens (P <. 0.001). Compression in a neutral or flexed position generated mild or moderate fracture patterns. On the contrary, the placement of the spine in extension resulted in severe fractures mostly associated with narrowing of the spinal canal. Interpretation: The results imply that a neutral cervical spine position during an impaction can be beneficial. In this position, the failure loads are high, and even if a vertebral fracture occurs, the generated injury patterns are expected to be mild or moderate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-801
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Volume30
Issue number8
Early online date24 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Cervical spine injury
  • Fracture pattern
  • Horse-related accident
  • Posture
  • Ultimate strength

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